Chippewa (1866)
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Service History


The sternwheel steam vessel built in La Crosse, Wisconsin in 1866, Chippewa was used mainly between Eau Claire, Wisconsin and Read's Landing, Minnesota. She would carry as much as forty tons of package goods along with passengers. The Chippewa ran five seasons tri-weekly from La Crosse to Eau Claire. In July 1870 the arrival of the railroad caused her to be taken out of the packet service. She then did some rafting. She was moored at her winter quarters during the winter of 1870-1871 at Rumsey's Landing on the Chippewa River.

1867, Fall The Chippewa sank in six feet of water at Rumsey's Landing but was hauled out and repaired.

1869, July The Chippewa set the record for the largest load of human freight, 160 passengers.

1870 The Chippewa sank in nine feet of water at nine mile slough but was later raised.

1871, January 21 The Chippewa burned and was never rebuilt.
Final Voyage


On January 21, 1871, the Rumsey Line steamer, Chippewa, burned at Rumsey's landing on the Chippewa River. The Johhny Schmoker burned in the same fire, which is believed to be the work of an arsonist. However, the Schmoker was later reported rebuilt, while there is no such record for the Chippewa. The loss from the fire was $20,000. Even though $13,000 was covered by insurance, this catastrophy along with the loss of the Silas Wright on Lake Pepin last summer and the mill burned, wiped out the Rumsey line.
© 2017 - Wisconsin Sea Grant, Wisconsin Historical Society